Anthem for Doomed YouthThis is one of Owens best known poems. Its plan is simple. With bitter irony, the first stanza translates the pandemonium of battle into funeral rites for the fallen. The second stanza continues the metaphor in the quiet of a stricken English Village.
Anthem for Doomed YouthAn anthem is usually a hymn to praise or celebrate but in this bitterly ironic title, Owen is criticising the praising of War.You wouldnt usually associate the youth with being doomed, but these men were being sent to their deaths. Owen uses the association of death and youth to show the inhumanity of war.
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? When a person died, their body would be taken to a church for the funeral. These rights were not given to the those who died in the war. These men died for their country, yet what funeral right were they given?passing bells are the bells used to announce a death.What image is Owen creating here? The savagery and brutality of war is reflected on in this image of death. Using the word cattle is a graphic way of showing how the men had no control over their lives. Like cattle, they were there to be slaughtered.
Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Owen asks a rhetorical question before providing the answer. He allows the reader to reflect on the reality of how young men die at war and what sounds after their death is not bells , but..Instead of an honourable death, with a funeral and people mourning them, they will just die on the battlefield. No one will come and no one will try and find them.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons.The imagery Owen uses here appeals to our hearing and sight. Owen recreates the sounds of the battlefield , showing the anger of war with constant stuttering of guns killing innocent lives. Their funeral prayers need to be completed quickly as there are so many to be said. This empathises the vast number of men killed in battle.Owen uses both alliteration and onomatopoeia to further empathise the firing of the guns. The alliteration mimics the sound of the gun fire. The gun is also personified by using the word patter.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, There is no dignity or pleasantries in dying at war. No one mourns for our men who have been sent to be slaughtered. There are simply too many for them to be accounted for individuality and for them to all receive the burial they deserve for making the ultimate sacrifice.
Despite Owens orthodox Christian upbringing, how his faith actually developed during the last years is far from clear, and it is hard not to think that he was not remembering in this poem those members of the clergy, and they were many, who were preaching not the gospel of peace but of war. The glorious dead will have nothing. No voices mourning them. There will however be choirs. But will these be choirs in the traditional sense?
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires. The only choirs that will be present at these mens funerals will be the horrific sounds of shells and warfare. Owen is emphasising the tragedy and pity of war.Raving mad- this highlights the sense that the shells and bombs are completely out of control. Perhaps there is no controlling the madness of war.Many men came from the English counties and countryside. Bugles were sounded, calling them and encouraging them to go to war, to their deaths. There is solemn tone here heightening the sense of sadness.
The juxtaposition of "choirs" and "wailing shells" is a startling metaphor, Gods world and the Devils both as one; after which line 8 leads into the sestet with the contrasted, muted sound of the Last Post.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes. Why does Owen use the word boys?The last sights these men would ever see would be the horrors and pity of war. The image here is of the tearful eyes of the soldiers, glittering like candles as they go towards their doom.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
Flowers suggest beauty and sadness.palenessCoffin clothThey patiently wait for their men to return.
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.Aptly, dusk is falling in the last line and speaks of finality. The dusk is slow, for that is how time passes for those who mourn, and with the drawing down of blinds and the attendant sadness. We may think of a house in Shrewsbury where at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month a telegram was delivered that informed Wilfred Owens parents of his death just a week earlier.
In Anthem for Doomed Youth we see the main image is the funeral service that was not given to soldiers for their bravery and help to the country, instead Owen compares a burial to what happened out on the battlefield. The first verse was lively with gunfire; the imagery appeals to hearing and sight.
The second verse we see that there are no aural images. It is a much more silent and quiet verse, trying to show the sadness of war. Owen was trying to show the sadness of war.
Anthem for Doomed Youth is mainly about young, brave soldiers not getting a proper funeral service. There are images of death, sounds of gunfire and bells. Owen felt sorrow for those killed out on the battlefield for their country, not getting the treatment/funeral they deserve for their ultimate sacrifice.